ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Adrien’s free throw with 35 seconds to play capped Houston’s rally Wednesday night, beating Orlando 90-89 in preseason play.
Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan led the Rockets with 14 points each.
Houston (5-2) trailed by 13 entering the fourth quarter and didn’t get its first lead of the second half until just over two minutes left in the game.
The Magic (3-3) tied it at 89 with less than a minute to play, but Adrien made a free throw to put Houston up by a point. Willie Green’s jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 12 points and six rebounds. Tarik Black added 10 points for the Rockets.
The Rockets showed their fatigue early, committing nine fouls in the first 11 minutes of the game. And Adrien’s late free throw made up for a flagrant foul he committed earlier in the fourth, when he pulled down Orlando’s Dewayne Dedmon by the jersey on a shot attempt.
Houston coach Kevin McHale took it easy on his projected regular-season starters, resting center Dwight Howard and limiting the minutes of others.
James Harden tried to pick up the slack as best he could with nine first-half points in 18 minutes before taking a seat the rest of the way.
The late effort by Houston’s reserves killed what was otherwise a celebration of sorts for Vucevic. The Magic have until the end of the month to extend Vucevic’s rookie contract, but the fourth-year big man said Wednesday that his representatives are in the process of finalizing what is expected to be a four-year extension.
Vucevic came out firing against the Rockets, scoring six of the Magic’s first eight points.
The Rockets: Howard had the night off after he played 28 minutes Tuesday night at Miami. He has appeared in just three of the Rockets’ preseason games after being slowed by an issue with his left knee.
The Magic: Channing Frye (sprained left MCL) and Victor Oladipo (sprained right MCL) did not play. The team hasn’t given a timetable for their return, and said Frye and Oladipo are being evaluated daily. It is unclear whether they will be available for the Oct. 28 regular-season opener at New Orleans.
Houston hosts San Antonio on Friday in its final preseason game.
Orlando finishes the preseason Friday night at home against Dallas.
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